GBRAID and WBRAID: iOS14.5+ Alternatives to GCLID for Advanced Tracking

gbraid explained

Google’s latest updates, GBRAID and WBRAID, mark significant advancements in their tracking code. These updates are specifically aimed at enhancing the precision and reliability of data collected through Google Analytics, with a particular focus on iOS users. These innovative parameters represent a remarkable addition to Google’s advertising ecosystem, revolutionizing data collection and tracking across diverse platforms.

The introduction of GBRAID and WBRAID holds immense potential to assist marketers in accurately measuring campaign performance and attributing conversions to specific campaigns, all while ensuring compliance with Apple’s ATT legal framework. With these updates, we anticipate a future where marketers can greatly benefit from improved data accuracy, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and maximize campaign effectiveness.

Let’s break down these new parameters and see how they will affect cross-platform tracking and attribution.

What is GBRAID?

GBRAID, short for Google Braid, is a URL parameter (&gBraid={gBraid}) which attributes app conversions back to your web ad campaigns and provide more accurate measurement on iOS. This unique identifier is designed to work seamlessly with Google Ads and provides advertisers with data on ad performance. This new parameter is added to landing page URLs when auto-tagging is enabled for all iOS14.5+ clicks. GBRAID will then track the performance of these campaigns (Search, Shopping, Display, and Performance Max deep-link ads on iOS), providing advertisers with valuable data on conversions, clicks, and impressions for more accurate attribution and cross-platform tracking.

GBRAID key benefits

  • Unveil Dark Spots and Key Insights: Using GBRAID you will now be able to identify behaviors and data, which now are in contrast with Apple’s ATT, resulting in measuring accurately your campaigns’ impact and optimizing based on true data. Gaining valuable insights into user behavior, conversion patterns, and the effectiveness of different marketing channels and campaigns, you will now be able to refine your targeting, messaging, and optimization strategies, leading to improved campaign performance and better return on investment (ROI).
  • Data-backed Marketing Decisions armed by enhanced attribution: Having all these new data in place, you will be able to create better campaigns or even restructure your campaign thinking (I hope we won’t be too surprised about our current campaign decisions). With Gbraid, you can attribute conversions more accurately to specific campaigns, keywords, or touchpoints. This attribution accuracy helps you understand the true impact of your marketing efforts and make informed decisions about budget allocation and optimization strategies.
  • Mapping the entire Customer Journey: With GBRAID, advertisers gain insights into the user journey, understanding how users interact with different pages, content, and elements on their websites. This information helps optimize the website experience, identify conversion bottlenecks, and refine marketing strategies accordingly.
  • Offline Conversion Tracking: Gbraid extends tracking capabilities to offline conversions, by connecting online ads to offline actions, you can measure the effectiveness of your digital campaigns in driving offline customer behavior, helping you make data-driven decisions and optimize your marketing strategies.
  • Ensuring Compliance with Privacy Regulations: Gbraid is designed to align with privacy regulations, such as Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework. By utilizing first-party cookies and app instance IDs, Gbraid respects user privacy while still providing valuable tracking and attribution capabilities.

What is WBRAID?

WBRAID, short for Web Braid, is a unique identifier that works in a similar way to GBRAID and is designed to provide advertisers with data on ad performance. In contrast with gBraid, WBRAID is built for app-to-web measurements.

Difference between GBRAID and WBRAID

The main difference between gbraid and wbraid is their usage. To put it simply:

  • GBRAID is designed to measure web-to-app conversions
  • WBRAID is designed to measure app-to-web conversions

How these updates impact Google Analytics

These updates will improve the accuracy and consistency of data collected by Google Analytics. With GBRAID, Google Analytics will be able to track users across multiple devices and platforms, providing a more complete picture of user behavior. With WBRAID, Google Analytics will be able to track users across web and app platforms, providing a more complete picture of user behavior across different channels.

However, these updates also mean that users who have opted out of personalized advertising will now be included in tracking data. This may impact the accuracy of data collected by Google Analytics and lead to changes in the way businesses interpret and use this data.

Overall, the GBRAID and WBRAID updates represent an important step forward for Google Analytics and will provide businesses with more accurate and comprehensive data on user behavior. However, businesses should be aware of the potential impact on user privacy and adjust their data collection and analysis practices accordingly.

Best practices for appropriately implement the new tracking parameters:

  • Update Tracking URLs: Advertisers need to ensure their tracking URLs incorporate the Gbraid parameter to capture and utilize the enhanced tracking features. This may involve making changes to existing tracking templates or utilizing Google’s auto-tagging feature.
  • Monitor and Analyze Data: Regularly review and analyze data in Google Analytics to gain insights into cross-platform performance, attribution, and the customer journey. This data can help refine marketing strategies and optimize campaign performance.
  • Test and Iterate: Experiment with different campaign structures, targeting options, and attribution models to find the optimal combination that maximizes conversions and ROI.

What is GCLID?

Gclid is a unique tracking parameter that is added to the URL of a landing page when a user clicks on an ad in Google Ads. This parameter helps to identify the specific ad that was clicked on, the campaign it belonged to, and the keyword that triggered the ad. The purpose of GCLID is to track and attribute specific clicks and conversions to the corresponding ad campaigns, keywords, and targeting parameters. This information is then sent back to Google Analytics, which can use it to provide valuable insights into how your ads are performing.

Google defines GCLID as a parameter passed in the URL with ad clicks, to identify the campaign and other attributes of the click associated with the ad for ad tracking and campaign attribution. 

How are these new parameters ATT compliant and GCLID isn’t?

GBRAID and WBRAID new parameters are considered ATT (App Tracking Transparency) compliant because they rely on Google Signals to identify users across devices and platforms. Google uses consent signals from users who have enabled personalized ads, and therefore, these users have given their consent to be tracked across devices and platforms.

On the other hand, GCLID (Google Click Identifier) is not considered ATT compliant because it does not rely on user consent signals. Instead, GCLID uses a unique identifier to track clicks and conversions in Google Ads campaigns. This means that users may be tracked without their explicit consent, which is not compliant with ATT regulations. GCLID relies on third-party cookies for tracking and attribution, which Apple’s ATT framework restricts without user consent. As a result, GCLID may face limitations or restrictions when it comes to tracking conversions on Apple devices, where users have opted out of tracking through the App Tracking Transparency prompt.

It’s important to note that the ATT framework is specific to Apple’s ecosystem and primarily impacts tracking and attribution on iOS devices. GCLID can still be utilized and remains effective for tracking and attribution on non-Apple devices and platforms.

Overall, Gbraid’s approach aligns with ATT guidelines by utilizing first-party cookies and app instance IDs, making it compliant with Apple’s privacy requirements. In contrast, GCLID relies on third-party cookies, which may face limitations in terms of ATT compliance on Apple devices.


GCLID is here to stay, don’t panic!

Instead, start getting ready for GBRAID and WBRAID. I believe that we will eventually see major changes on our data and users’ bahaviors, we will have deeper understanding of what we are seeing, and we will be able to better explain what we are seeing resulting in better campaigns and performance.


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